Bucs sellers or buyers? Not clear yet

PITTSBURGH — Will the Pirates be buyers or sellers at the MLB non-waiver trade deadline?

Easy question. It’s too soon to tell.

The deadline doesn’t arrive until July 31 and there’s a lot of baseball to be played between now and then. The Pirates could win 10 of 12 and find themselves back in the thick of the race. They could also lose 10 of 12 and fall so far back they would need a telescope to see first place.

It all depends on what happens in the next five weeks.

Here’s another factor to consider: The Pirates are not a single acquisition away from being a legitimate World Series contender.

An experienced starting pitcher would help the rotation. A genuine hitter would help the middle of the order. The bullpen could use at least one piece, maybe two.

Ideally, they could address all three of those needs. Realistically, they can’t.

Everybody wants to play general manager and make moves, but it’s not easy to do. It takes two parties to make a trade, and the other guy isn’t always willing to accept the offer.

Whether the Pirates are buyers or sellers will be a question that seems a lot more legitimate somewhere around July 25.

Disappointing career

The Baltimore Orioles designated Pedro Alvarez for assignment on Tuesday.

This is bad news for Alvarez since the Orioles seemed to be the only team interested in him after the Pirates let him go following the 2015 season.

He hit eight home runs for the Orioles this season, but his average was .180.

That was his career in a nutshell. Plenty of occasional power, lots of strikeouts, defensive play so bad that he couldn’t be trusted in the field. It’s not what anybody expected when the Pirates made him their No. 1 draft choice in 2008 and gave him a $6 million signing bonus, then a franchise record.

At 31, Alvarez is a platoon DH looking for work. Someone could sign him with the idea of stashing him in the minor leagues and bringing him up as a pinch hitter for the September stretch drive.

But that part-time specialist duty might be the only opportunity available for him.

Watching on radio

For some reason, baseball seems to more enjoyable on radio.

Maybe it’s because on radio you can’t see the tattoos and ridiculous beards, but baseball lends itself well to a radio call.

Unfortunately, the Pirates’ play-by-play voices seem to forget they need to paint word pictures when they’re on radio. Bouncing between radio and TV doesn’t help. Some teams have announcers who work one medium exclusively, and that’s always better. The radio voices get into a groove and realize how important their descriptive skills are.

If you’re inclined to scan the dial on summer nights and pick up games from other cities, there’s a pretty good selection available. If you have a decent AM receiver (getting harder to find these days), you can probably pick up six to 10 major league games after dark.

When you follow the game on radio, you can’t see the pants over the shoe tops, either.

Mehno can be reached at johnmehnocolumn@gmail.com

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